Streaming giant Netflix is eyeing up the videogame scene, it seems. According to a report by Bloomberg, the company has hired a former EA and Facebook executive to head up its move into offering games, and it’s possible we could see games offered on the platform within the next year.
The site reports that Netflix has brought Mike Verdu on board as its vice president of game development, who previously worked at Facebook as a vice president overseeing working with devs to get games onto its Oculus VR headsets. At EA, Verdu was head of its mobile studios, with games such as Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Plants vs. Zombies part of their portfolio.
Bloomberg reports that Netflix could be aiming to start offering games on its streaming platform within the next year and that they’ll appear right alongside the content currently available, in a similar vein to how documentaries and stand-up specials have done previously. However, while Netflix has confirmed the hire of Verdu as VP of game development to IGN, the company hasn’t confirmed or commented on any other aims to move into gaming, so these plans are unconfirmed right now.
In an earnings call earlier this year, Netflix COO and chief product officer talked a little about the company’s work in the gaming sphere so far and its approach to more immersive and interactive experiences going forward.
“We’re in the business of creating these amazing deep universes and compelling characters. […] People come to love those universes and they want to immerse themselves more deeply and get to know the characters better and their backstories,” he said at the time. “And so really we’re trying to figure out what are all these different ways that we can increase those points of connection, we can deepen that fandom. And certainly, games [sic] is a really interesting component of that.
“So whether it’s gamifying some of the linear storytelling we’re doing like interactive, Bandersnatch, and the kids’ interactive programs, that’s been super interesting. We’re going to continue working in that space for sure. We’ve actually launched games themselves. It’s part of our licensing and merchandising effort, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen so far. And there’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience. So we’re going to keep going, and we’ll continue to learn and figure it out as we go.”
Netflix has brought elements of gaming and big videogame IPs to its platform previously – for example, with shows inspired by games (or IPs that have gone on to become huge game series), such as Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, Dota: Dragon’s Blood, The Witcher, and The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf among others. It’s also had interactive offerings like Black Mirror and Carmen Sandiego. But, it looks like there could be a big push to move beyond these on the horizon – we’ll have to wait and see what unfolds.